One of the most effective ways of reducing prejudice between different groups is dialogue. Through effective communication, groups learn to tolerate differences and more importantly discover that people have more in common than they are different.
Recently, Blossom Hill Fellow Leyla Atik started a project that aims to bring children from myriad backgrounds living in different parts of the world together through collective art. The project participants are 21 Syrian refugee children residing in Istanbul and 21 non-refugee children from various backgrounds residing in California. Each child in Istanbul is matched with a child in California to complete each other’s happy worlds. They also send each other “About Me” sheets where they introduce themselves — where they are from, their favorite things, what they would like to be when they grow up.
Through this project, children are not only participating in an art-making activity, but are also creating meaningful communication across cultures and challenging existing biases. Most importantly, refugee children in Istanbul feel that they are seen, heard and cared for by people living in another part of the world.